Showing posts with label #pdxbeergeeks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #pdxbeergeeks. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Second Anniversary!

Save the date! 

When planning the #pdxbeergeeks second anniversary, we wanted to do something different. We didn't want to do another beer event, so we decided to do a family friendly geeky event. We've partnered with the Historic Hollywood Theatre and Atomic Pizza to do a one time showing of the fan mashup of the original Star Wars movies, Star Wars Uncut. A portion of door sales, and ALL beer sales from Atomic Pizza on the day of the event will be donated to local charity Outside In.

**** UPDATE - Pre-order tickets available here!  ****

As an added bonus, we've been working with the local 501st Legion Cloud City Garrison and Kashyyyk Base to have volunteers appearing as film-authentic Star Wars characters prior to the 3:30 pm showing.

Seating is limited, and we anticipate this event will sell out! We will post a link once advance online ticket sales are available.

Date ~ July 14th, 2013
Time ~ Show starts at 3:30 pm 
Place ~ Hollywood Theater
Price ~ $7/adult 
$5/children (Ages 1-12)

Special thanks to The Hollywood Theatre, Atomic Pizza, the Cloud City Garrison and Kashyyyk Base, 10 Barrel Brewing, Lompoc Brewing, Fort George, Natian Brewing, Outside In, and you! We wouldn't be able to do this without the incredible support of the beer community, and you, our friends. Thank you!

May the force be with you. Always.

About ~

Star Wars Uncut - Star Wars Uncut is a crazy fan mashup remake of the original Star Wars movies. It is the brainchild of Casey Pugh, a developer dedicated to creating interactive experiences on the web. In 2009, Casey was inspired to use the Internet and an ever-ready pool of passionate Star Wars fans to crowd source the classic film Star Wars IV: A New Hope. This pet project turned into a labor of love and creativity on a large scale. Nearly a thousand fans came together to participate and the resulting movie is equal parts fun, kooky, and dearly nostalgic.

Outside In - Outside In began in 1968, and we have continually revised our Homeless Youth Services and Medical Services to meet changing community needs. Our mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monday, October 22, 2012

Natian Brewery Anniversary Party!

Come join #pdxbeergeeks and Eastburn on November 10th to celebrate Natian Brewery's third anniversary! We'll start the evening with a tour of Natian Brewery. The brewery tour is a RSVP only event (to RSVP please comment below, along with number of guests) and will start promptly at 7:00pm and run until 7:30ish. Enjoy a refreshing canned beverage, and bask in the glory of Natian's new 10BBL system.

Then we will walk over to Eastburn for a tap take over with Natian to celebrate in style. Word on the street is you may want to bring your dancing shoes!

Natian Brewery is located at 1321 NE Couch, Corner of 14th and Sandy

Just in! Eastburn has announced $3 pints of Natian beers to celebrate the third anniversary, also DJ Symbolism will be spinning later in the evening.
Taplist to be determined.

More news as it's released! Hope to see you all there!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Who Likes Contests?

After digging through the ol' #pdxbeergeeks schwag box, we found a $25 gift certificate to Vintage Cocktail Lounge that was suppose to be raffled off at our anniversary event. In light of this, it seems like a good time to have a contest here on the blog.

Winning is easy!  All you need to do is comment here on this blog post with -
  1. One of your favorite beers, and
  2. Your favorite place to hang out in PDX and drink beer. 
  • Contest will run through Monday August 20th until midnight PST.
  • Winner will be randomly selected and announced Tuesday August 21st here on this blog post. You will have three days to respond in order to win. If not another random post will be chosen.
  • Only one post per individual, multiple posts will be tossed out.
  • Must live in Oregon or SW Washington to enter. 
See I told you it was easy! Let the games commence. Good luck!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shout Out To #pdxbeergeeks On New Brew Thursday

Special thanks to Duke Geren aka @Dukester for the shout out to #pdxbeergeeks on the July 26th Episode of New Brew Thursday!  Thank you Duke for sharing the #pdxbeergeeks love.

View the full page here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

First Anniversary Party

We're turning one!
We can't believe it's been a year already, and we would like to thank each and every one of you. It couldn't be done without you. In celebration of this amazing year, we have teamed up with one of our favorite locations for an epic event. We are proud to announce our first anniversary party will be held on Saturday, July 21st at Eastburn from 4-10pm.

We've also teamed up with some of our favorite breweries for the event. We will have beers available from The Commons, Fort George, Natian, and a special release from Short Snout Brewing. Short Snout is brewing up some of his delicious Blackberry Sage Porter.

A fun filled evening of friends gathering and beer drinking will be had. Several raffle prizes will be available throughout the evening. Tickets will be available for sale at the event. Prices are $2/ticket or $10/10 tickets. Tickets will also be available with specific beverage purchases.

List of some of the raffle prizes -
  • Brewvana Brewery Tours gift certificates
  • Eastburn gift certificate
  • Bridgetown Beerhouse gift certificate
  • Vintage Cocktail Lounge gift certificate
  •  gift certificate
  • Tons of brewery swag!
Lots of fun planned for the evening. Certainly an event not to be missed. Cannot wait to see you all there!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill on Friday night

Looking for somewhere to go tonight? 

Just in time to quench your thirst for the last weekend of American Craft Beer Week (May 14th – May 20th), gastro pub, The Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill, in downtown Portland is unveiling an expanded new beer selection, while showing off their freshly renovated Old Town location. With Audio Syndicate playing indie rock classics on Friday night, you can count on a combination of great people watching, great beers, and selection of tasty bites. Happy Hour is 3 - 7 pm, and the dinner menu is more than hearty! 

Sampler tray at The Thirsty Lion

With a booming selection of local craft beers, and now a rotating selection of 32 brews on tap featuring local producers like Cascade Brewing, Burnside Brewing, Fort George Brewery and Walking Man Brewing, this is a great place to toast to our region’s - and country’s - flourishing beer economy. Support American Craft Beer Week, while supporting your local pub. 

Check it out! And don't forget to check in on twitter to let other #pdxbeergeeks know where you're at - and what you're drinking for #ACBW!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fort George Tap Takeover at Bottles with #pdxbeergeeks

How are you celebrating American Craft Beer Week? We think you should come hang out with us and Fort George at Bottles NW.  We could tell you about all the awesome things in store, but I'll just let the poster do all the talking. Hope to see you all there!

*Corrections to poster*

Event time

Monday, May 7, 2012

Celebration Contest

In honor of reaching our 500th fan on Facebook, and 600th follower on Twitter, we're hosting a contest. The prize is a $50 gift certificate for Brewvana Brewery Tours. Special thanks to everyone! We couldn't do this without you.

Brewvana Brewery Tours

The rules are simple
1. Must live in Oregon or SW Washington.
2. Must be 21 and over.
3. Three ways to enter.
  • Like us on Facebook, and like this post.
  • Follow us on the Twitters, and retweet this tweet. (You only need to retweet once, multiples will not increase chances)
  • Sign up for our newsletter. (If already signed up, you are entered)

Each of these will give you one (1) entry to win. So three chances to enter. Contest will run for two weeks, with a close date of 5/21 at 11:59 pm. One winner will be chosen, and contact by 5/23. Good luck, and let the games begin!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pints Brewing Company Grand Opening April 13th

Special thanks to guest writer Doug Smith for attending this event and representing #pdxbeergeeks. Also on a side note, tonight is the grand opening! Stop in and show Pints some #pdxbeergeeks love! 

The Old Town district of Portland once again has its own brewery. PINTS Brewing Company is the first brewery to open in Old Town since Liberty Brewing Company, which was opened in 1852 by Henry Saxer. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s been worth the wait.

Owner Chad Rennaker has spent a lot of time in Denver, frequenting Great Divide Brewing. He wanted to implement many of Great Divide’s features while designing PINTS, envisioning a small, low-key venue with somewhat limited food options that is primarily about the beer; a true destination for the craft beer geek and causal beer fan alike. It seems his vision has definitely been realized. Coffee shop by morning and “urban taproom” by afternoon and evening, PINTS is an inviting, warm space with low lighting, exposed wood beams, and old brick walls that greet you immediately upon entering. There is currently seating for around twenty-five in the main front area, with additional seating at the bar. There is one flat screen TV in the corner.

Rennaker admits that he is not necessarily a beer expert, so he has enlisted the help of Zach Beckwith to take ownership of the brewing operations. Beckwith, formally a brewer for New Old Lompoc, aims to create beers “that aren’t pretentious, and that you are able to get again and again.” As their story describes, “PINTS is dedicated to old school Northwest and British inspired ales using the best quality base and specialty malts, along with Oregon grown hops.” All beers will be brewed on their 3.5 barrel system, utilizing four 7-barrel fermentation tanks, as well as a cold conditioning room in the basement. The system was created with the assistance of Craig Nicholls of Turnkey Brewery Consulting. Their ten taps will always consist of a selection of core beers, as well as seasonal ales that, according to Beckwith, “actually follow the seasons.”

I had the opportunity to sample four of their core beers, as well as two of their current seasonals. The core beers were PINTS Tavern Ale (a sessionable Northwest ESB), Red Brick Rye (a copper-hued American style rye pale ale), Steel Bridge Stout (a complex American style stout brewed with seven malts), and Seismic IPA (a dry-hopped and unfiltered Northwest IPA). The two seasonals were the as of yet unnamed Northwest red ale (they are holding a contest to determine a name), and the Legalize Wit (a classic wit beer which was a collaboration with Lompoc). All six of their offerings were extremely solid, and there is definitely something for everyone. Beckwith’s favorite style is stout, so look for some great roasty dark beers coming from PINTS in the very near future.

Beckwith plans to experiment with the use of various base malts, which is not all that common in the Portland brewery scene. Rather than using only a couple of base malts in all of his beers, he will use a variety of malts that truly compliment the styles. This should provide a very distinct range of flavors, mouthfeels, and aromas. The yeast strains used will also rotate between various American Ale and English Ale yeasts.

Despite what many people have heard, PINTS will not just be about session beers. While they do intend to create session beers on a regular basis, they will also focus on bigger beers to continue providing a variety to their customers. Their first true session beer will be the upcoming “Thomas Trotter IPA.”

Future plans include expanding the seating area into the brewery so that patrons may enjoy their beers right in the area in which they were created. You can’t get any closer to the source than that! Beckwith also plans to brew a beer for this summer’s North American Organic Brewers Festival, which will be a summer IPA called “Green Line,” named for PINTS’ direct proximity to the green Max line, as well as its status as a “green” (organic) beer. There will be a food menu, however; the kitchen is still under construction.

Beckwith’s goal is to “try to get people to think a little bit more about what’s in their pint glass.” If they can accomplish that, then he feels that they will have succeeded. With a great location right on two MAX lines, a very inviting space, and their excellent beers, that shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

OMISSION Beer: Gluten Free by Widmer!

Good news on the horizon for gluten-intolerant beer lovers! The growing trend of gluten free beers (New Planet in Colorado, Harvester in Portland, Green's in the UK) is now joined by hometown brewery Widmer!

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Coming Soon to Oregon
“Drinking is Believing”

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 26, 2012 – This spring, Craft Brew Alliance will launch Omission Beer, the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Omission beers are brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., which uses a proprietary brewing process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the widely accepted international gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) for food and beverages. (The international gluten-free standard was set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.) Omission Beer is expected to release the first beers in its portfolio, which will be available only in Oregon, on April 2.

“Developing great-tasting, authentic craft beers that happen to be gluten-free was a personal mission for our brewmaster and me, and it’s a mission that our team really got behind. The launch of Omission Beer is a game changer for celiacs and the craft beer community,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance. “As a 12-year celiac and longtime craft beer enthusiast, I’m thrilled to introduce two delicious craft beers that can be enjoyed equally by those who are affected by gluten sensitivities and those who are not.”

Unlike many other gluten-free beers currently available, Omission beers are not brewed with sorghum, rice, tapioca, buckwheat or quinoa; they are brewed using traditional beer ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast. 

“Omission Beer has been a work in progress for the last six years,” said Joe Casey, brewmaster at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My wife was diagnosed as a celiac in 2006, and since then, we’ve made it our mission to brew a great-tasting craft beer using traditional beer ingredients that everyone of legal drinking age could enjoy. After years of hard work, mission accomplished.” 

Gluten-Free Guarantee, Every Batch Tested:
Each batch of Omission Beer is tested by an independent lab to ensure that all Omission beers contain well below 20 ppm of gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test. Beer will not be released to consumers until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.

About Omission Beer
Omission Beer is a new brand of gluten-free craft beers, available only in Oregon. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Omission is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Each batch of Omission Beer is tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test to ensure that it contains gluten levels that are well below the international standard for gluten-free of 20 ppm. Drinking is believing. 

About Craft Brew Alliance
Craft Brew Alliance was formed with the merger of leading Pacific Northwest craft brewers Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. With an eye toward preserving and growing one-of-a-kind craft beers and brands, CBA was joined by Kona Brewing Company in 2010. For more information about CBA, visit

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Churchkey Can Co. revives flat top cans!

The Original Flat Top Steel Beer Can - Churchkey Can Co. (photo courtesy of Churchkey Can Co. 2012)

Because It’s Worth the Effort: Churchkey Can Co. Revives the Original Flat Top Steel Beer Can
Join us in an ode to the past as Churchkey Can Co. brings you the most original beer experience you have ever had – a quality craft beer in the original flat top can 

PACIFIC NORTHWEST – (March 21, 2012) – Back to simple times with simple tools that change an interaction into an experience. For the first time in nearly 50 years, craft beer lovers in Seattle and Portland can once again experience beer from the original flat top can. Offering a unique, handcrafted Pilsner-style beer in authentic 12-ounce steel cans, Churchkey Can Co. – a new craft beer-can company based in the Pacific Northwest – is on a mission to offer this forgotten beer experience once again.

“We are here to bring you a beer we are proud of, in a can we are honored to share,” said Co-founder and Creative Director Justin Hawkins. “It’s about the joy of drinking good beer – from the people you drink it with to where you drink it and, now, how you open it. We didn't make these traditions, but are keeping them alive with Churchkey.”

Co-founded by Portland-native Justin Hawkins and actor Adrian Grenier, Churchkey Can Co. began as the desire to someday experience a great beer in a simple can as the generations before had. Quickly realizing the flat top can – introduced in 1935 and a standard in the beer industry until the pull-tab came to market in the mid-1960s – was all but a memory, Hawkins and Grenier set the wheels in motion to found Churchkey Can Co.

Churchkey Can Co... Tools required! (photo courtesy of Churchkey Can Co 2012)

To get the flat top can just right, Churchkey turned to the Ball Corporation, the largest supplier of beer cans in the world and a company that played a key role in the evolution of the beer can. Made from highly recyclable steel, protecting the beer from both light and oxygen, the Churchkey flat top can provides an airtight seal and must be opened with a churchkey. This opener, which obtains its name from its similarity in style to the large old fashion keys formerly used to open a church, is used to punch two small triangular holes into the top of the can allowing for aeration and pouring of the beer.  

Inside each can, craft beer lovers will find a delicious Pacific Northwest-brewed Pilsner-style craft beer. The recipe for which was originated by Portland-based home brewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke – who have been crafting home brewed beer in their garages for many years, and are passionate about their beer and the community they cultivate with it – the Churchkey Pilsner is made using only the highest quality ingredients. The body of the beer comes from the light, grainy pilsner malt taste, accented by a smooth clean bitterness. The Saaz hop taste and aroma featured in the Churchkey Pilsner make for a uniquely complex, yet sessionable beer at 4.9 percent ABV and a 29 IBU.

To bring the beer to market, Churchkey Can Co. turned to Joel VandenBrink, a skilled craft brewer based out of Seattle. Head brewer at Two Beers Brewing Co, the first Washington brewery to produce 12-ounce cans, VandenBrink and his team embody the Churchkey philosophy. They love what they do and work hard to bring true craft beer to their community. As part of this unique partnership and friendship, Churchkey Can Co. works together with Two Beers Brewing to produce and package its Churchkey Pilsner.

Beginning April 15, Churchkey Can Co. Pilsner can be found at a variety of retailers and drinking establishments throughout Seattle and Portland, available for $9.99 per six-pack – with a churchkey opener included – and between $3-$5 at bars and restaurants. For a full list of bars, restaurants and retailers carrying Churchkey cans, visit (Our #pdxbeergeeks senses tell us that the previous launch date of April 1 has been exceeded! It's live, now!).

Stay tuned for more information about 
a Portland Launch Party for Churchkey Can Co : Thursday, April 5 at Dig A Pony 
- details forthcoming! 

About Churchkey Can Co.
Launching in April 2012, Pacific Northwest-based Churchkey Can Co is a new craft beer-can company on a mission to reintroduce beer lovers to the original flat top steel can. For the first time in 50 years, Churchkey Can Company offers this forgotten beer experience once again. Because in the tradition of the great men and women before us, we know it’s worth the effort. Follow Churchkey Can Co on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit

** Thanks to Caitlin Braam of Churchkey Can Co.  for sending over this update! **

Friday, March 16, 2012

Widmer Experimental IPAs On Tap at Gasthaus!

Ooooh. New riffs and experimental IPAs from Widmer! 

From Widmer's Brady Walen - "Using the same base recipe as last year’s popular X-114 Rotator IPA, our brewing team recently brewed four experimental IPAs to showcase the unique qualities of four different experimental hop varieties.  All four of these X-IPAs went on draught at the Gasthaus (Thursday, March 15).  They are available as a flight of four or as single pints, and we’re asking guests to vote for their favorites.  Here’s the lineup: 

X-430 IPA
A more approachable and mellow IPA, hop 430 has floral, tea like aromas. Flavors of tropical fruit compliment the soft citrus and floral aromas, and are balanced by subtle malt sweetness.  Enjoy the mellow side of IPA. 6.1% ABV, 40 IBU

X-431 IPA
Hop 431 has a pungent piney, resinous aroma. Notes of grapefruit and lemon-like citrus are apparent, and dominate the flavor and aroma of this beer – but the subtle malt sweetness helps balance the hop profile of X-431. 5.9% ABV, 35 IBU

X-443 IPA
X-443 IPA is a classic example of the IPA style. Hop 443 has a nice floral and citrus aroma. Notes of sweet citrus-like mandarin orange and tangerines work wonderfully with a perfect malt balance to deliver a smooth and flavorful finish. 6.1% ABV, 43 IBU

X-467 IPA
X-467 adds spicy lemon and tart citrus qualities to this IPA. Once added to beer it sweetens up and produces tropical, pineapple-like flavors and aromas that combine with just enough malt to balance out an assertive finish. 6.1% ABV, 47 IBU

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BREWPUBLIC & The Guild Pub Present: The Beer Mixology Hat-Trick

Portland, OR -- Three breweries, three states, three beer cocktails. On February 25th, BREWPUBLIC is bringing together a trifecta of tristate craft breweries to perform the ultimate beer mixology hat-trick at The Guild Pub in Portland, OR.

Saturday evening, starting at 6pm, The Guild Pub will experience an invasion of brewers and a three-way tap and cocktail menu takeover. Representing the home team is Commons Brewery, a small craft brewery located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Joining the threesome from the North is Mt. Tabor Brewing, the newest craft brewery to open in Vancouver, Washington. And completing the love triangle, from the state to the South, is Bison Brewing, a 100% certified organic craft brewery from Berkeley, California.

“The Guild has been interested in doing beer cocktails for some time and is excited to partner with three innovative craft breweries, Portland’s number one source for beer news, and the country’s premier beer mixologist for the first of many beer cocktail events to come.”  – Dan Roy, owner of The Guild Pub.

For four straight hours, The Guild Pub will feature a menu of original beer cocktails designed by each of the breweries with the help of’s founder, Ashley "Beer Wench" Routson. In addition to the cocktails designed by each brewery, there will be a special "his & her" beer cocktail collaborated on by beer blogging duo, Angelo De Ieso and Ashley Routson. Sample pours of each beer will be available for the inquisitive minds craving a side by side analysis. Brewmasters from each brewery will also be in house, making the menage-a-trois of beer love an even more intimate experience.

The Beer Mixology Hat Trick

Who: BREWPUBLIC, Commons Brewery, Mt. Tabor Brewing, Bison Brewing
Where: The Guild Pub
1101 East Burnside Street
When: February 25th, 6-10pm
Cost: $8 per cocktail, $4 per pint

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview Series: In Depth with Jack Harris of Fort George

Festival of Dark Arts is happening tomorrow! Get down to Fort George Brewery in Astoria for a ton of fun surrounding stout month - and read on for an in depth interview with Jack Harris of Fort George!

Stout Month 2012 by artist Chris Lee

How long has Fort George been open? Tell us a little about the new expansion in the production facility? 

Fort George was conceived in the fall of 2005, built in 2006 and opened March 11, 2007. Originally we rented 3000 square feet on the West Half of the main level in the Fort George Building. The pub and brewery were short on space right away. We lobbied our landlord (who graciously loaned us space in another of his buildings) to sell us the Fort George Building from almost the start, with the plan being to expand the brewery into the upstairs with more fermenters and a packaging line. When he finally got sick of hearing from us, he offered to sell the building on the condition we bought all of his Downtown Astoria property at once. Chris (my business partner) took on the challenge and organized a financing package that allowed us to buy the whole block. Once we owned the Lovell building in addition to the Fort George it seemed to make a lot more sense to get a new production brewery to take advantage of the vast expanse of open, ground-level space it afforded. We bought a 15 year-old, 30 bbl DME system from St. Arnold in Houston, Texas in 2010 and had it up and running at the beginning of 2011. This week we took delivery on two 120 bbl fermenters and a 120 bbl bright tank manufactured new at Metalcraft in Portland. They are literally being installed as I write this. This will triple our current capacity and pretty much fills in all the available space we once thought infinite.

What additional changes has the quick expansion and growth brought to Fort George? Increased staff? Increased distribution? 

We have almost doubled our staff, both in the pub and brewery, since we opened the new brewery (affectionately known as Little Miss Texas) last year. While we have been aware of and have planned pretty well for this growth it has challenged us as an organization. It is important that everyone feels like they are in the loop as far as decision making and we have added some management layers that take that intimacy away. Fortunately the managers we have promoted to new responsibilities are committed to our team ethic and work very hard to keep lines of communication open. Our training programs have improved by leaps and bounds and have already paid dividends with improved safety protocols, customer service and organization. Nikki Olsen at Deschutes Brewery has been invaluable as our 5-S/Lean Manufacturing mentor.
Our need for space seems insatiable. We have some creative folks in charge of warehousing our cooperage, cans and equipment, but a walk-in cooler solution needs to be addressed soon. 
As far as distribution, we have a very measured, long-term plan for introducing our beer to new markets. Maletis and Odom Distributing have both been very patient and supportive of our goals.

Where can we find Fort George outside Oregon?

Right now you can find Fort George Beer in the Vancouver, WA metro area downriver to Longview. We self-distribute to the Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County, WA as well. We have plans for the Seattle area, but are not ready to announce a release date as of yet.

How long have you been brewing? Where did you brew before Fort George?

I began brewing for the McMenimans in 1990 at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, back when the brewery and pub were still in the old Imbrie House. I migrated to the McForeign Legion outpost of Lincoln City and brewed there until 1993 when I accepted a job to open a brewpub in Boulder, Colorado. I brewed at the Mountain Sun for three years, long enough to meet my future wife and then followed her back to Oregon where she was enrolled at the National College of Naturapathic Medicine. I spent a year in Central Oregon as the first brewer at Cascade Lakes, living in the front office of the brewery with my dog. A friend told me that Bill's Tavern was going to be rebuilt as a brew-pub and I missed both a pub atmosphere and the beach so I lobbied very hard to get that opportunity. I brewed in Cannon Beach for 9 years before opening Fort George. 

What are your primary focuses when creating a new beer?

There are a million variables, but a few questions I ask before committing to something new are: Are we chasing a fad? What can we add to this style of beer that nobody else has addressed? What distinguishes this beer from others like it? Is it a gimmick or does the new ingredient or technique add value to the beer? Is the final beer greater than the sum of its' parts? Would I drink three pints of this beer at one sitting?

Has your experience at Fort George expanded your creativity in brewing?

Maybe by proxy. I have a host of really creative, enthused and hard-working brewers that have a multitude of beer ideas spilling out of them. They are constantly pitching new ideas and techniques to either improve our standard selection or completely new beers this planet has never seen. Some of those will remain unseen, but folks will be seeing new stuff from Fort George for a long while.

Last year (2011) we saw a collaboration by Fort George and Astoria Brewing on Batcountry, a stout/lager hybrid. Any plans for new hybrid or collaboration beers on the horizon? 

Bat Country was a huge hit and it only further solidified our positive working relations with Astoria Brewing, who have plans for a brewery expansion of their own. We are currently in discussions with other breweries about collaborations, but it would be premature to announce anything at this time. We will let you know when we have a solid plan.

Where did your love of beer come from?

Beer has been very good to me. It would be hard not to love it for that reason alone. Really, like mom or apple pie, it never occurred to me that everyone didn't love beer. I have just been incredibly lucky to build a life around it.

What's your favorite Fort George beer?

I have heard that secretly, parents do have a favorite child. (We are raising an only child, so I don't know.) Choosing my favorite beer at Fort George is difficult. I am pretty renowned among our bartenders for being hard to predict my choice of refreshment. Time, place and context all have an influence on my choice at any given moment, but if put on the spot, right this second while I am typing on my home computer (our office is taken apart for upstairs remodeling) I would order a Cavatica Stout. Mmmmn, Stout.

What kind of style of beer would you suggest for someone who is completely new Fort George beers? What do you consider your flagship beer? 

Again, that depends on the person. Are they familiar with and appreciative of craft beer? I would get them started with an Oatmeal Pale Ale. Are they new to or skeptical of more flavorful beer? Quick Wit rarely gets rejected. I have never been comfortable with a Flagship Beer, it implies special treatment or a feeling that other beers are less important, but it would be hard to deny that Vortex IPA is our most renowned beer.

festival of Dark Arts poster by artist Sallie Lackaff

Fort George is known for events like Festival of the Dark Arts during Stout Month (February) and the Brewer's Dinners, with special menus prepared by Chef Dana - what can you tell us about what's coming up? 

Well Stout Month (aka February) is looking to be huge. We will have at least 8 of our own Stouts available and will be rotating 8 more stouts onto our guest handles through the month. We hosted our Stout and Oyster Brewers Dinner on Wednesday, February 15th. That dinner featured at least 5 new Stouts with a five course Oyster oriented meal.

Then on Saturday, February 18th we will hold the Festival of Dark Arts - A Carnival of Stout in the Lovell Building. That will entail a huge Dark Art Gallery,a live Blacksmithing demonstration, on-site Tattoo Artists, a Tarot Card reader, Belly Dancers, Pirates, Ambient Music, Fire Dancers, a Fire Eater and at least 15 Stouts that haven't been poured yet during the month. This will be a Beer Festival format, no charge for entry, but you must purchase a glass and tickets to sample the beer.
Update *** Tattoo Artists are almost completely booked up for the Festival of Dark Arts this Saturday. Check with Hold Fast Tattoo Co. & Gallery and Keepsake Tattoo Studio to book your Stout Month tattoo in front of a live Stout Drinking audience!
Fort George is now a pinnacle of the rebirth happening in Astoria and the revival of that community - how do you and your staff carry your mission at Fort George into the community? 

The Fort George Brewery and Public House stands on the shoulders of giants in this community that labored for years to pave the way for businesses like ours to flourish. One example is Uriah Hulsey who spent 20 years running the Columbian Cafe and insisting that good, fresh food could be sold, even in a town that looked like it was dying in the 80's. In his role as City Planner, Paul Benoit starting putting plans together years ago that would protect the waterfront and make it accessible to pedestrians, effectively making Astoria the best walking town in the Northwest. The city has supported our every effort from helping us re-zone to allow our activities, to coming up with creative strategies for us to meet strict building code ordinances while re-purposing old buildings. There are countless other examples of people who went out of their way, at their own expense for the benefit of Fort George. If we have come to symbolize the renaissance of Astoria it is due, in a large part to the community wanting us to happen as much as our managing our development from the top. 
We try to honor this connection by supporting as many of the local efforts as we can either by donating services, hosting in our event spaces or just showing up with a beer about when a beer is very needed.
Anything else you want to tell us about what's happening at Fort George? 

We will be celebrating our 5th anniversary this March and it is really amazing to see where we have arrived at in such a short time. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day operations where the changes often seem incremental. I am always humbled and flattered when folks take notice and share in our enthusiasm and optimism. Sometimes it seems more like a wave I am learning to ride, rather than a business I supposedly run. Thank-you for your interest and hopefully we can share a beer together sometime soon. That is what this is really all about.

Fort George Brewery - visit

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geek: Daniel Roy

I've personally known Dan Roy for longer then I care to mention. (20 years?) So I was excited when he offered to step up and do our interview series. Come on down to The Guild Public House for our "Meet the Brewer" series and Can Release party from 6-8pm on 2/16 with Natian Brewery, and meet Dan for yourself.  ~ Michael

DanRoy of The Guild Public House
Name: DanRoy

Hometown: Portland, OR via Salem, OR

Favorite Beer: Too many to name, but here are a few. Burnside Brewing Oatmeal Pale Ale, Natian Brewing Old Grogham Winter IPA, Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale, Boneyard Skunk Ape IRA, and once in a while I like a nice PBR tall boy (it did win a blue ribbon once).

Favorite Beer Haunt: The Guild Public House...duh

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Probably Widmer Hefeweizen around 1995. I was drinking as much of those as I could, sometimes without a lemon. That’s right, I was hardcore. I thought it was like mana from heaven. No longer did I have to suffer through another six pack of “Beast Ice”.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: I used to homebrew, but I wasn’t very good at it. I gave it up years ago.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? An upstanding young lad named Michael Umphress. We have been known to have a pint together every now and again.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Just enjoying beer and trying different styles. You never know when you are going to find the perfect one. I haven’t yet so the search continues.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? I would want more people to support the craft brewing industry. Portland is great for it, but there are a lot of people who won’t venture away from the macro lagers, and that’s not to put those beers down. They definitely have a place in society, but c’mon...

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? So much to choose from. It seems like everybody is doing quality beer right now. 

Where can we find you on the web? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Florida Edition: Gerard Walen

Gerard Walen of Roadtrips4Beer!
Name: Gerard Walen

Hometown: Clermont, Florida. Born and raised in Tampa.

Favorite Beer: It’s easier to name my favorite child because I only have one of those. As far as “go to” beers, there’s Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and the standby Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I enjoy  a lot of seasonals, and love big imperial stouts.
Favorite Beer Haunt: Another tough one because I live in a craft beer bar desert, so I don’t really have a “haunt.” However, within an hour’s driving distance from my home, I’ll give a nod to Redlight Redlight in Orlando. If I want to make it a day trip, I’ll head to Sarasota and hit the Cock & Bull, a favorite haunt when I lived there.
What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think?  After a long time being a friend of A-B followed by an extended dalliance with Corona Light, a friend turned me on to an import: Young’s Ramrod Ale. It had taste! It had character! Thus began my craft-beer journey.
Do you homebrew? Yes, I just started last year. I’ve only made three batches, but hope to amp that up in 2012. All of them turned out decent and drinkable, so that’s encouraging.
How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? I was aware of the group through the Twitter hashtag, but then got to meet some of you in person at the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference. Great folks and enthusiastic craft beer advocates.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  The macrobrew offerings are monochromatic in that there is little to no difference between them in taste, appearance or brewing techniques.
The big brewers’ attempts at tapping the craft beer market – Shock Top, Blue Moon, Killians, etc. – introduce shades of gray and pale pastels to the spectrum, in that the beer drinker will find slightly more taste and variety, but the range is still limited. 

Craft beer, though, is like Dorothy opening the front door in “The Wizard of Oz.” Suddenly, there is a colorful rainbow of tastes and styles, each different from the other, that opens up a seemingly infinite number of choices on what to put in your glass. Being a beer geek means immersing oneself in that glorious rainbow and being open to new taste experiences and adventures. No one will like all of it, but there is something there for everybody.
If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Just one thing? I’d like to see more mainstream acceptance, I suppose, such as more craft beer offerings at restaurants, availability at more hotel bars and on airplane flights, more shelf space at grocery stores, etc.
What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?  Though some outside the area may think there is an air of smugness or superiority among Portland beer geeks, it is not at all true. The people and venues of Portland’s craft beer scene opened their arms wide to welcome all of us who attended BBC11, and that impressed me immensely. This is not exclusive to Portland, though; I’ve seen it nearly everywhere I travel, but perhaps I did not expect such a high level of enthusiasm from folks eager to educate us out-of-towners on what Portland has to offer. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Where can we find you on the web?

I have two beer sites, so here’s the info for each.
Road Trips for Beer
Twitter: @roadtrips4beer (note the numeral!)

Beer in Florida
Twitter: @BeerInFlorida

Monday, January 23, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geek: Ashley V Routson, aka The Beer Wench

The Beer Wench aka Ashley V Routson
Name: Ashley V Routson

I am a gypsy by nature, so my “hometown” changes frequently. At the moment, I live in Berkeley, CA.

Favorite Beer:
This is quite possibly the most challenging question for a beer geek. I almost always say Orval, when asked this question -- although, another common answer would be “the beer in my glass” (easiest cop-out ever).

When I interviewed Adam Avery, I asked him this same question. He said something to the extent of “My favorite beer is my beer, and any brewer who says otherwise, should probably start brewing others' beers.” In the same spirit, I would have to say the Bison Brewing’s Saison de Wench is my favorite beer of the moment, because she is my pride and joy.

Favorite Beer Haunt:
I have moved over a dozen times and traveled to several states in the past 4 years so, needless to say, I have many a favorite beer haunt in many cities. If I could only visit one bar in each of the following cities, these places top my list (based on past experiences):
  • New York, NY: Blind Tiger
  • Chicago, IL: Delilah’s
  • Columbus, OH: Bodega
  • Cleveland, OH: Buckeye Beer Engine
  • Grand Rapids, MI: Hopcat
  • Milwaukee, WI: Sugar Maple
  • Orlando, FL: Red Light, Red Light
  • New Orleans, LA: Snake & Jakes (okay, not a beer bar AT ALL... but one of the best dive bars on this planet)
  • Austin, TX: The Draught House
  • Denver, CO: Falling Rock
  • Los Angeles, CA: Blue Palms Brew House
  • San Diego, CA: Churchill’s
  • San Francisco, CA: Toronado
  • Oakland, CA: Beer Revolution
  • Portland, OR: Horse Brass
  • Seattle, WA: Brouwer’s Cafe

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Well, I suppose it depends. Technically, my first craft beer was probably Sam Adams Boston Lager, since that was the beer my mother drank when I was a kid. But my memory of it isn’t really strong, so I don’t think it counts.

I grew up near the Catskill mountains in New York State. We were a very active family, and loved to go hiking at Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Mountain. After a long day of hiking in the summer sun, my mother and father used to reward themselves by hitting up a local brewpub called The Gilded Otter. They would let my sister and I sip on the beers that they got. The one that always stood out the most was a lager brewed with fresh blue berries. It was very cloudy and natural lavender in color with real blueberry pulp and skin floating in the beer.

As far as beer epiphanies go, I often site Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch and Bell’s Two-Hearted as the two turning point beers that turned me into a craft beer drinker. As a wine geek, Midas Touch really hit home. It was like a tawny port, but still a beer. Absolutely mind blowing. And Two-Hearted was my very first IPA... and a girl never forgets her first IPA.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date:
I am kind of lame because I’ve never actually finished my own homebrew batch, from start to finish. I love helping my friends homebrew, but I travel, work and play way too much to be a serious homebrewer. That, and I work in the industry, which means I get to play “big kid brewer” from time to time. Best beer I’ve brewed to date is Saison de Wench, a Belgian farmhouse brewed with botanicals.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks?
Learned about the rockstar crew from pdxbeergeeks just before the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference in Portland! The lovely Emily has become of of my greatest confidants and friends since!!!

What does being a beer geek mean to you?
Being a beer geek means not being a beer snob. It means being an evangelist, constantly spreading the good word about craft beer -- and not being an arrogant douchebag who makes craft beer an exclusive, members- only club that is intimidating and inapproachable. It's about loving beer, and the people who make it.

Craft beer is my life. It is my work, it is my play, it is my love. Without it, I would cease to exist.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be?
Honestly? I would put an end to douchbaggery. I mean, I wish more people would drink craft beer, we all do. But at least the ignorant people swilling down mass-produced, yellow fizzy corporate lagers aren’t as bad as the craft beer douchbags. Honestly, I view them as cancer cells in our industry. In scarcity, they can be targeted and eliminated. But in clusters, they can do some serious damage. There is just no room in this industry for negativity, especially from the arrogant and uneducated. I view these douchebags as cancerous cells. We need to eliminate them before they become a cluster and do serious damage.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?
  Where do I begin? My only love sprung from my only hate. Only six months ago, I found myself purchasing two voodoo dolls in preparation for my first trip to Portland. One was called The Gladiator, to give me strength to fight, and the other was the Equalizer, to avenge the wrong against me. Needless to say, I hated Portland even before I had ever visited.

Upon visiting, I quickly realized that it would be impossible to hate it, but I never once thought that I would fall in love with it. So much so, that I dream about living there.

I love Portland’s passion, although be it quirky, awkward and slightly delusional at times. I love its people. I love its beer. I love its food. And because of Portland, I finally know what it’s like to truly love another human, and be loved in return.

Weather sucks, but hey, there are worse things in life than rain.

Where can we find you on the web?

Drink With The Wench
Beer Mixology

Sunday, January 22, 2012

McMenamin's Hammerhead 26th Birthday!

Hammerhead tap at McMenamin's
This Wednesday, January 25, 2012, McMenamin's will be celebrating Hammerhead Ale's 26th B'day ($2.50 pints all locations, all day) Here is the current list of special Hammers/locations pouring that day:

Old St. Francis:  Dry-hopped Firkin (Cask) Hammerhead (O'kanes: 'Curly's Firkin' Special Release)
High Street:  Cask-style Hammerhog (whiskey-oak aged Hammerhead) poured via beer engine.
Roadhouse Bar:  Cask-style Hammerhog (whiskey-oak aged Hammerhead) served from bar top.
Imbrie Hall:  Bar Top Cask-style dry-hopped Hammerhead
White Shed:  Dry-hopped Hammerhead
McMenamins on Broadway: Dry-hopped Hammerhead
Rock Creek:   Dry-hopped Hammerhead
Wilsonville:  Oak-aged Hammerhead (medium toasted oak spiral. The beer has hints of vanilla and caramel)

As an artist and lifetime resident of Portland, one of the things I appreciate the most about McMenamin's is the way in which the old buildings are brought back to life. The art is rooted into breathing new energy into spaces previously abandoned or forgotten about. While the artists for McMenamin's are notoriously gifted, the way in which their talent pairs with an Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau sensibility of ornamentation within functionality brings a decidedly green and Pacific Northwest flavor to the family of breweries. Indeed, McMenamin's was a trailblazer in "brew pub as art" style of interior design - a creative way of thinking that is often not attributed as well as it should be. As described on the company's own website, "Originally, the artwork served a practical purpose -- as Mike McMenamin puts it, 'We had good-sized walls to cover.' But over the course of twenty-plus years, the art evolved into an expression of the building's history, the company's mission and of McMenamins itself."

This sketch is from February 1st, 1992 by Lyle Hehn
The logos and caricatures for the beers themselves are no exception! As Lyle Hehn, an artist with McMenamin's since 1988 describes,  "After the usual false starts and frustrated erasures, the local radio station began to play some rousing music, and it all fell together. The ideas popped in one after another and I couldn't draw it fast enough. An unusually large amount of the sketch survived into the final version.

The idea of a character with a hammer for a head is hardly original, but the beer had already received a name that practically demanded some kind of bold, expansive and yet deliberately ridiculous image."

McMenamin's features information about their artists on their blog, describing the introduction of the artist who created the Hammerhead logo into the McMenamin's family. "In 1980, Hehn graduated from Linfield College with a bachelor's degree in art. Since 1988, Hehn has been employed by McMenamins. His brother Paul was one of the company's managers, and Hehn was hired to paint a sign on a door at the Fulton Pub. Other McMenamins projects gradually followed. At first he did just decorative wall painting in the pubs, but as the company expanded, Hehn also began to design logos and labels and signs for their various locations, along with murals and illustrations."

McMenamin's has given new life to many buildings in Oregon who would have otherwise fallen to ruin. While the tater tots at all the facilities are delicious (and the Sunday breakfasts at Edgefield's Black Rabbit Restaurant are one of Portland's best kept secrets), a big part of the joy I feel at visiting these buildings comes from the integral research and honoring of history that is imbued in everything McMenamin's does. 

Hammerhead's birthday is a perfect time to experience McMenamin's anew. Visit one of the twenty four facilities around the Portland-Metro and surrounding areas for a pint - and take a moment to admire the details with which these buildings are lovingly adorned.